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What’s an “internet wife” anyway?

Police allege man murdered by internet wife's ex-husband

It's the headline that bothers me. Just at a glance, I'd think that the murder victim had an online-only relationship with his "internet wife," like those people whose MMORPG characters or Second Life avatars get "married." But, no, he met the woman on the internet, and married her in reality after her divorce from the previous husband was final.1

I've seen people refer to those who meet online and have a meat-world relationship this way before, but it's annoying. If you meet someone on the internet, and the two of you marry, is that woman an "internet wife" and that man an "internet husband" forever?

By that logic, people should have bar, school, church, and gym spouses too, yes? My mother has a baseball game husband. My sister has a golf course husband. I think my brother met his wife at work, so she's his work wife.

Now, if I thought people would follow this naming convention to its logical conclusion, and have multiple spouses, it wouldn't be quite as annoying. Somehow, though, I doubt that brother is going to acquire a rugby wife or some such.2

Anyway, the headline should have read something like "Police allege man shot by wife's jealous ex-husband" (I'd prefer active voice, but it seems they don't).

1 No details are given as to timing, or whether she left for the new guy.

2 Wait, do women play rugby? I've never met one who did. Hmmm.


  1. Alice says:

    Wow! You’re right and the insin­u­a­tion is high­ly offen­sive as if our rela­tion­ship is vir­tu­al. My inter­net hus­band and I, who’ve been togeth­er 16 years, and our 4 chil­dren, disagree.

    BTW, have missed your posts. 🙂

  2. Gaelan says:

    Yes, that is annoy­ing. I sup­pose to some­one who still sees the inter­net as some­thing unusu­al and sus­pi­cious, it’s akin to say­ing “mail-order bride.” The head­line dates the author.

  3. Joshua Hill says:

    Not real­ly rel­e­vant to the main post, but I have 2 female cousins who play rug­by or have played it.

  4. Tracy says:

    Recent­ly I read of anoth­er cou­ple that were divorc­ing since he had a cyber affair and so she fol­lowed suit. It is hard enough to be a cou­ple but now adding the inter­net makes it harder.

  5. James says:

    The term “inter­net wife” doesn’t make any sense. Unless you com­plete rela­tion­ship is over the Inter­net.. and in that case, I’d say.. “Get a life!”.. I met my wife
    over the Inter­net, but we live togeth­er.. and it’s an excel­lent relationship.

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